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'To Autumn' by John Keats, analyse the poem and comment on the poetic form and language used.

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Introduction

Carefully read the poem 'To Autumn' by John Keats. Write an essay of no more than 1500 words in which you analyse the poem and comment on the poetic form and language used (for example, rhyme, rhythm, metaphor, imagery, tone, word order, alliteration, point of view) and the way they contribute to the meaning of the poem. The three stanzas in the poem, 'To Autumn' describe the many aspects of the harvest season. The first stanza details the many activities that take place during the season, using rich expressive language, such as, 'maturing, ripeness, plump, and clammy'. The use of this language coupled with the action oriented verbs like, 'to load, to bend, and fill, to swell, and to set,' serve to leave the reader with a more positive and warming image of autumn than is usually depicted in verse or prose. Keats uses personification in the second line by calling autumn, 'close bosom-friend of the maturing sun,' which is very powerful metaphor and emphasises the importance of the season to the reader. This language combined with the use of, 'bless' conjures up a serene image. ...read more.

Middle

This stanza is also more relaxed than the first with phrases like, 'sitting careless, sound asleep, drows'd, and, 'with patient look' which is in direct contrast to your expectations, as you would think that after following summer there would be countless energetic images. Even with the leisurely activities of autumn being described, the harvest is clearly nearing completion with the suggestion of the cider-presses, 'last oozings hours by hours.' These words also draw out the process, and serve to lengthen the stanza. Alliteration is present again with, 'winnowing wind' which again prolongs the image of the season. The tender musical tones of, 'Where are the songs of spring? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music', in the final stanza is Keats appealing for autumn to be upbeat. There is also a sense that Keats is looking back and in a period of reflection. This is followed in a melancholic manner describing the onslaught of winter with images of death, with, 'soft-dying day', 'wailful choir', 'gnats mourn', and, 'as the light wind lives or dies'. The tone is then reversed by the onomatopoeia of, 'bleat, whistles and twitter', when describing the sounds of nature, which lifts the poem and ends the poem with an image of the season in a positive, cheerful way. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is also a feeling of movement through each stanza, with the first stanza focusing on activity, the second focusing on slumber, and the third focusing on finality. The three stanzas also appeal to different senses, the first being sensual, describing factual events, the second being visual, giving us imagined romantic images, and the third being aural, which justify Keats's opinions of autumn. The change of word order in the first stanza of, 'thatch-eves run' instead of, 'run thatch-eves', and in the third stanza of, 'treble soft', instead of, 'soft treble', cleverly allow Keats to use the respective rhyming of, 'sun', and, 'croft'. The overall effect of the poem is to leave the reader with the view that Keats strongly believes that the autumn season usually has an under valued existence and is over shadowed by the sometimes romantic images of spring. He clearly redresses the balance with his strong imagery and powerful language, which effectively take the reader through a fulfilling and wonderful experience of an autumn day, enabling the reader to also gain an insight into the poet's mood and persona. In summary, 'To Autumn', is a fine poem using a myriad of techniques including personification, alliteration, aural language and imagery to convey Keats's experiences and thoughts. Word count 994 1 Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

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